Thursday, February 18, 2010


We've been staying at Heritage House in the old section of Ahmedabad. Find our host's blog by googling Heritage House Ahmedabad (I tried to copy the link here but it didn't paste). This has been an AMAZING 4 days with this family. We've been guests in every sense of the word--they've incorporated us into their space with great grace. It's an extended family in a couple of old houses which have been made into one, and their cousins and other relatives are next door sharing the same entrance courtyard. We've eaten great Gujerati food in the kitchen after watching it being prepared. I have even had a lesson in rolling out chappati. The textiles here have been absolutely fabulous. Our tour escort, Vicky, has a friend here who has been our local "guide". Mala and her sister Bela also run a textile studio with tailors, pressers, and hand-stitchers. We had a great visit today seeing their design processes, samples and the final products. On Tuesday and Wednesday we drove north of the city to visit weavers in villages weaving intricate single and double ikat and mashru cloth. Most of the looms are in the main rooms of their houses and are "pit" looms. And in one home the wife demonstrated how she spins wool, while her husband showed us his weaving. The work is very much separated along gender lines--the women do much of the prep work while the men do the actual weaving. One of the most spectacular workshops was in Patan with the Savli famiy who are the only weavers of Patola double ikat. They have a website which I haven't checked yet. Today we stayed in town and shopped--there is a splendid book store specializing in Indian art books, particularly textiles, and I was helpfully escorted by auto rickshaw by the owner's son to the nearest ATM so I could pay for my purchase. Our final stop was at a stupendous fabric store and I had difficulty buying only two pieces of cotton. There was an excellent selection of block printed cotton and silk using natural dyes, and fortuitously the printer was in the store--he lives in north west Gujerat, near the border with Pakistan, which is quite far.


  1. Hi Janet. Your blog entry popped up on my auto-Google search for Ahmedabad. Welcome! I'm an American living in Ahmedabad for 4 months with my husband and 3 sons. I hope that I have the chance to see what you have with the textile weaving! I hope you continue to have an enjoyable experience here in A'bad. It certainly, as you said, is "an assault to the senses" sometimes, but also very wonderful, too.

  2. Hi Janet
    I'm exhausted just trying to picture in my mind the surroundings that you describe. I bet you're tired at the end of each day. Please write down the recipes/cooking methods you learn so that we can learn from them, too. Just 2 textile pieces - great restraint.

  3. I'm no longer feeling as tho' all my senses are assaulted...interesting that I am now much more comfortable in my surroundings! I can now enjoy the choreography of the traffic--how the trucks, scooters, bicycles, cars, three-wheelers gracefully weave in and out without anyone getting upset!
    As for recipes, etc, I'm afraid that watching the few cooks I've been privileges to observe has not made me any wiser! They all use a few pinches of this and that...but their spice trays are beautiful to behold. One cook's spices were in a beautiful wooden cabinet--the other kept hers in metal containers within another metal container, much like a big tiffin. Tomorrow night we're going to have a South Indian meal which is apparently quite different from this northern food.